We made the trek to New Orleans yesterday to see our favorite eye specialist for a 6 month check. We hoped for the best, but as our last check up revealed that David has the beginnings of nearsightedness, I prepared for the distinct possibility that our sweet boy might need glasses at the ripe old age of 20 months.
Bottom line, at least he can see...at one point, Brent and I attempted to make peace with the very good possibility that both Mary Louise and David would have significant sight and hearing damage.
So we muddled through downtown - always fun - parked in the tiny, low ceiling parking garage, I put Mary Louise (my ever-squirmy girl) in the front pack carrier, strapped the backpack diaper bag on, and held David on my hip. I felt as if I was donning army gear and going to the front lines for battle!
We waited our obligatory 2 hours (yes, hours) in the large, but always busy waiting room. We were called "to the back" right about the time I was going to start smashing Gold fish crackers into the chairs and floor MYSELF because that's how nutty I felt after wrestling and corralling 2 wild toddlers away from the strange man in the corner with 2 weeping, swollen black eyes, and the woman to our left with a very thick cotton patched taped over one side of her face...and let's not forget the multiple coughers, hackers, and sniffers who we passed on our way to the fourth floor.
Sweet David has a funny habit of putting his hand out to greet people - who naturally shake it in response. Not in a hospital my friends!!! Momma was on the neurotic prowl for dirty nails, questionable smells, noisy breath sounds - any indication of less than immaculate hygiene and health. Even so, one older woman slipped by my guard and shook David's hand when Mary Louise diverted my attention and let out a concerned yell about our ride on an elevator...
So to the back we went for the eye exams. The doctor's nurse remarked about how big Mary Louise and David are getting, asked about their overall health, etc. The doctor and his intern came in to say hello and after a little more waiting, drops were instilled to dilate the babies' eyes. About 30 minutes after that, the full exam was done.
Is it worth the wait to travel and wait for hours, and plan months ahead to see this particular doctor? Yes. Absolutely. Positively. Yes. He is a pioneer in his field and was head of the original research done in the 80's marking the switch from cryotherapy to laser surgery for ROP. This was and is still quite literally the difference between light and dark for our little ones. The success rate on saving eyesight in preemies soared when this and other changes in procedures were made - in large part by the doctor who did their surgeries and who follows them now. He is totally worth it. Reputation aside - the man actually has a rather delightful bedside manner and his enthusiasm for his work is not just refreshing but almost contagious.
In addition to the praise above, said doctor uses no sedation and does not use a speculum to examine Mary Louise and David. Oh no, he can get in, out and see all he needs to see in a matter of seconds. He'll even examine them while they hug me and glare at him over my shoulder. In short, we kinda like him...
The reviews post check up were phenomenal!! Mary Louise's vision is right on considering her surgical history - there is no sign of nearsightedness. David's nearsightedness seen at the last visit has RESOLVED!!!! So BOTH babies are doing really well right now and have been cleared for a full year!!
We won't really know about peripheral vision limitations until a bit later. We can say that neither Mary Louise, nor David will qualify to be a pilot. We have also been well warned to have them avoid playing contact sports, specifically football, but also anything that would put them at a higher risk to be hit in the head / use their head (soccer) to hit something. They will always be at a higher risk for detached retinas and a contact sport would increase this risk - though the retinas can spontaneously detach as well. They will also always need a minimum of a yearly checkup with a full (dilation) eye exam.
After all was said and done, they did beautifully during a rough and busy day. Most importantly, they remain healthy, vibrant, and happy. I continue to be in awe and in love...